County library expands horizons with teenager program

Published 8:14 am Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Reading skills are a large focus of early education, and many older adults spend their free time reading, but teenagers and young adults may not have the time or the will to pursue reading programs of their own. One librarian has decided to change that.

Teen Librarian Monica Calhoun has been working on “Teen Tuesdays” for several months, a program she has dedicated to a subset of the community she feels has been neglected over the years.

“I decided teens were not being served,” Calhoun said. “We have excellent children’s programs and programs for adults, but there are not many for teenagers.”

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Teen Tuesdays will not be the same event every week. Each Tuesday, she has planned a different event for teenagers to participate in, all in the name of raising involvement in the community.

A Teen Advisory Board will meet on the first Tuesday of every month to go over planned events and allow teenagers to propose events they specifically feel are worthwhile.

Calhoun said she is planning an arts and crafts day on the second Tuesdays, allowing students to make something fun and worthwhile.

Third Tuesdays will feature activities such as snacks, where students can learn how to make healthy after-school snacks and drinks.

The fourth Tuesdays will go to partnering with various organizations, including Carter County Drug Prevention’s Keep Calm and Read with a Book Buddy program.

She said these programs are vital to the development of young adults.

“Teens are the adults of the future,” Calhoun said.

Calhoun has worked at the library for the past seven years part-time and became a full-time employee mid-November. As a result, she said she has a “whole slew of ideas” for ways to expand the program.

Already, the library hosts a “Teen Corner” with materials aimed at their age bracket. The library also holds writing and art supplies for teenagers to use at their convenience.

“I currently work a lot with the home-schooled kids, but I would love for the public schools to get involved,” she said.

She said her love of the library has convinced her of its value in teaching society.

“Being in the library is good for society,” Calhoun said. “And our volunteer activities are good for the Tennessee Promise.”

She said programs such as Teen Tuesdays help encourage others to utilize the resources the library has to offer the county.

“No matter your age, we have a lot to offer,” Calhoun said.